Sophocles Aristides Hero, 86, a retired Defense Department counsel who was legal adviser to NATO's U.S. delegation in the mid-1960s, died April 13 at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He had sepsis.

Mr. Hero, who lived in Reston, was born in New York. He was a graduate of New York University and its law school.

He served in an Army intelligence posting in Europe during World War II and later in an assignment with the Central Intelligence Agency.

He retired in 1955 from the Army Reserve.

He began his law career with the New York firm of Donovan Leisure Newton Lumbard and Irvine, then was senior partner in the New York firm of Forbes and Hero.

In the mid-1950s, he was named an assistant deputy counsel in the international division of Defense's general counsel's office.

He helped negotiate more than 35 bilateral and multilateral agreements. While with NATO, he was the principal attorney in the negotiations with the European Consortium over the F-16 fighter.

After he retired in 1980, he headed Old Towne Associates, an Alexandria real estate investment firm, for 15 years.

Mr. Hero was the representative in the 1950s of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America to the National Council of the Churches of Christ. He also served for two years on the executive committee of the Church World Service.

He was a member of the Bush-Quayle transition team, focusing on presidential personnel, and served on President George H.W. Bush's Commission on White House Fellowships.

Mr. Hero was president of the Hellenic University Club of Washington and a member of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Washington.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Aphrodite Hero of Reston; a son, Gregory Hero of Great Falls; a brother; and four grandchildren.